14 February 2023
In the “Editing and Publishing” class I teach at UGA, I asked my students to compare and contrast the different experiences in watching a movie and an episode of a serial as a way to give them entree into a course that aspires to teach them what it means, and feels like, to read, write, and perhaps work for a periodical. It was also a way for me to learn from them, as they are much more fluent in the world of moving images than I am, and will ever be.
The students’ responses accumulated into a conversation about the difference in the bonding experience between a series and what some of them called the “one-and-done” (i.e., movies, especially ones without sequels). There was an easy consensus on the fact of a substantial difference, but there is an ongoing debate about which bonding experience is better. A couple students asserted that movies provide a stronger connection, one of them chiming in that one usually watches a series episode alone. Another student disagreed, saying that, truly, it is only with serials that a viewer can take on one’s love of a show as a central part of one’s identity.
This has piqued my interest. There’s much more to be thought, but rather than focus on the question of which is better (but, of course—go team serials!), I want to think about what is lost, as a reader, if your literary world doesn’t include periodicals. What is a reading life without a regular meeting place to find new writers and new work by familiar ones? What would a reading practice miss without this means of directed, social reading to sharpen one’s own sensibility and reading habits, whether one reads with and/or against the journal? More on this in the future, but, for now, what do you think?
One way to think pointedly about the above is to read the final installment of our two-part publication of Yukio Mishima’s “Voices of the Heroic Spirits.” Don’t miss a personal reminiscence by the translator, Paul McCarthy, on GR2, which talks about his brief encounter with Mishima in the late sixties, when the novella was originally published. Paisley Rekdal has poems that touch on themes associated with early-twentieth-century Chinese American author Sui Sin Far and nineteenth-century Chinese railroad workers. A shared interest in the latter is the occasion for a conversation between Rekdal and literary critic Julia H. Lee, which you can find on GR2. The issue also includes a moving essay by Stacey D’Erasmo about the salutary effects of persistence in a longstanding art or writing practice. We publish a segment of a performance that Douglas Kearney gave at the Athenaeum, here in Athens, Georgia, in conjunction with an exhibit by Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Yiru Zhang has a stunningly absurd story that dramatizes one person’s malaise in working for a news agency in current-day Shanghai. Olufemi Terry shares an essay that takes us on a cosmopolitan’s vertiginous travels, recounting being stranded in the Côte d’Ivoire as the Covid pandemic started. Diego Báez has a bravura performance recounting his obsession with the docudrama Formula 1: Drive to Survive. And Toby Altman and David Woo have essay-reviews on Thom Gunn and W. H. Auden, respectively, which pair quite well with each other, giving us a way to start considering the current relevance of twentieth-century gay American-British formalism.
From around the office:
• We are proud to announce that we have been awarded a $10,000 NEA grant to support the production of our print journal.
• The Friend (they/them) has started a monthly column for us on GR2. Each of these publications are meditations sparked by a single line or sentence, essays that display their equal commitments to literary history and current politics and culture. The first column considers Sappho’s famous line, per Anne Carson’s translation, “you burn me,” to think about the lyric and to see Sappho as essentially gender nonbinary. Don’t miss what they have to say here and in future installments.
• The Loraine Williams Poetry Prize is open until 15 May. The judge is Hanif Abdurraqib. The winner will receive $1,500 as well as an expenses-paid trip to Athens, Georgia, to read with the judge.
• The inaugural Georgia Review Prose Prize has closed. We will announce the winner and runner-up in April.